Old-Style Wood is New Again
When they update their floors, many Granite Staters are choosing a natural look.
The showroom at Higgins Wood Floors displays hundreds of wood flooring options, which can be factory-finished or finished on-site with installation.
Photo courtesy of Higgins Wood Floors
As cold weather approaches, an indoor home project such as getting new hardwood floors might be a wise and warm choice. As New Hampshire homes generally embody the rustic, outdoorsy, old-home feel, it is not a surprise that the current hardwood floor trends in New Hampshire reflect that environment.
Those in the local hardwood industry say that general trends in hardwood flooring usually change about every 10 years and that is certainly true even in traditional New Hampshire.
The use of hickory, a very hard North American wood filled with natural knots, has been on the rise here for a few years and will continue to grow in popularity, says Ryan Higgins, an owner of Higgins Hardwood Floors.
"Hickory is your hardest North American hardwood, so it's very dense and very durable," Higgins explains. "It has a bright crisp feel to it so it's an energetic wood and a durable wood at the same time."
Higgins adds that hickory wood has been an extremely popular choice for Granite Staters who own lake homes because of its rustic appearance and naturalistic feeling.
Dana Pregent, a customer of Higgins Wood Floors, recently had hickory floors installed in her lake house and says that she chose hickory wood over other species because she wanted wood with lots of character and the knots and varying color in hickory gave her that feel.
Pregent also chose wide, 5-inch planks for her hickory floors, which help keep with the rustic and lake house feeling. Recently, wider planks from 5 inches up to 12 inches have been a striking movement in the hardwood world.
This cross-section of flooring demonstrates the layering process that gives the floors their durability. While other flooring options have to be replaced, wood flooring can be refinished for a fraction of the cost.
The reasons for this wider width might be because it makes a room look bigger, or just simply because it is more visually appealing to see fewer lines in the floor.
Cynthia Richards, a Barrington customer who recently purchased walnut engineered wood from Higgins Wood Floors, chose 5-inch boards for her space simply because she "liked the appearance of 5-inch planking."
"In terms of wide plank, 5-inch is a really nice size for people," says Higgins. "Material cost takes a big jump when you go over 5 inches."
Also in 5-inch plank, Higgins sells engineered wood, which is a trend throughout the nation and slowly making its way into New Hampshire.
It is extremely durable, eliminates gaps that usually occur with regular hardwood, is a green flooring choice and can be refinished multiple times.
Engineered wood flooring is made up of multiple plywood layers that are cross-layered and glued together with a hardwood layer of your choice on top.
According to Higgins, this type of flooring is growing in popularity because of its multiple benefits. One of the biggest reasons people are choosing engineered flooring is because the cross-layered process eliminates ugly gaps that occur during the winter.
"The engineered, whether it's unfinished or pre-finished, gives people the dimensional stability and they won't get the gaps between the planks when the heat is on," Higgins says.
This is the reason why Richards decided to have walnut engineered wood installed in her home.
"I chose engineered wood because I have radiant heating in the floor and the moisture would cause problems with [regular] hardwood flooring," says Richards.
Another reason Higgins believes New Englanders are trending towards engineered flooring is because it is a green product.
"You can use more of the resource," Higgins says. "The mill can use less-attractive pieces of wood for the under layers so you can use more of the tree," he says. This type of wood can also be refinished a number of times, giving it more value.
"There's no downside to a good engineered wood," says Higgins.
With these trends in hardwood flooring lasting years at a time, you can expect 2012 to see these same movements.
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